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Dracaena reflexa (song of india) slowly dying with black spots

Posted by Jottle CA (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 14:16

I've tried searching here on the forum, but I'm getting mixed diagnoses of what might be wrong with my poor dracaena. We just bought three of these little guys and potted them a month ago. After a few weeks, they started developing these black dead spots all over the leaves and at the tips. The spots are spreading no matter what we do. I suspected it was our water supply (which has chlorine but not fluoride). So we're now using filtered water w/out chlorine. Then I suspected overwatering. So we've let the soil dry out between watering. And finally someone suggested this was black leaf spot fungus. I sprayed the plant with a fungicide, but it hasn't done anything. Changing all these habits hasn't helped, and the plant has these dead spots that keep growing every day. The dead spots are dry and not smelly/rotten. Any idea what's causing this? See pictures. Thanks!

This post was edited by Jottle on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 14:39

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Dracaena reflexa (song of india) slowly dying with black spot

Another pic.

RE: Dracaena reflexa (song of india) slowly dying with black spot

You can't really tell from the pictures, but the black dead spots start to form both at the edges/tips of the leaves as well as in the center of the leaves at various places.

This post was edited by Jottle on Thu, Sep 12, 13 at 14:22

RE: Dracaena reflexa (song of india) slowly dying with black spot


First, your plant isn't D. reflexa/Song of India, however it is a striped Dracaena.

There are several reasons leaf spot can develop on Dracaenas including fungal disease, bacteria, insects, too much humidity, and improper growing conditions.

How much light is it getting? What about fertilizer? How often? Is it enclosed among other plants?

It's possible you've over-fertilized. If over-fertilizing is the problem, you should either repot in fresh, well-draining soil, or leach soil.
Do you see clear crystals forming on soil or inner pot?

Some Dracaenas dote on humidity, others need a little. As long as there's good air circulation, high humidity shouldn't be a problem.

You said you let soil dry...did you test the center and rootball bottom?

Soil can look/feel dry on top, but if soil isn't well-draining, center and bottom soil might be wet.

Dracaena's need medium light..Direct summer sun can cause spotting.

In case your Dracaena has disease or pests, 'I doubt the problem is insects,' isolate.
I'd remove leaves with brown spots.

Leaves with brown tips can be trimmed, but leave about 1/8" of brown on each leaf tip.

How long have you been watering with room-temp water?

I'd avoid fertilizing.

There's a product I use called SuperThrive. Some, believe it a snake oil, lol, but I think it does wonders. Just my opinion. 10 drops per gallon of water.

Good luck, Toni

RE: Dracaena reflexa (song of india) slowly dying with black spot

Hi & welcome to Gardenweb! That's a pretty one, I have it too. Does that pot have a drain hole at the bottom? It's normal for a leaf or two to be discarded after a disturbance like repotting, and occasionally as it grows. If you've only had it a few weeks, who knows what it might have experienced before you adopted it. What did the roots look like when you removed them from the store pots?

RE: Dracaena reflexa (song of india) slowly dying with black spot

Thanks for the responses. The plant roots were in great shape when we repotted them after taking them home form the store. So I don't suspect root rot or an infestation

We also have not fertilized the plant at all since taking it home about 3 weeks ago. The pot it's in does have a drain hole, and the soil is not retaining excess moisture as far as I can tell.

It gets indirect sunlight (never full sun indoors or direct sun) and is not near other plants. It is not humid at all where it's located, and the room its in has ceiling fans (so good air circulation).

Since the soil is not overly moist throughout, I'm still suspecting fungus. But it really doesn't look like a fungus the way the leaves just kind of look dried out where they are black. I've sprayed it with a fungicide already with no effect, what else can I do?

Any advice?

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